Saturday, October 23, 2021

Catching-up - The Catholic Man-Crisis and The Great Reset

Fr. Jim Cosgrove before he was ordained a deacon.

 Kind of.

I haven't posted much because I've been busy and it is easier just to post links on FB with a comment of two.  My title for this maybe misleading, since I have no intention of writing a great deal on these subjects - but I am catching-up with blogging.

The 'man-crisis' business.

I consider it a sort of business - even though it's part of a big apostolate online and in many American dioceses. I've read some good things, I know there are wonderful spiritual talks on the subject - with the Year of St. Joseph offering more profound spiritual dimensions to the work.  It's just that, I don't know, what makes a Catholic man a manly man?  Sports?  Beer? Guy's on a camping trip?  All the things bears do when they go hunting or hiking?  Dressed in Army fatigues, cowboy hats, big beards, plaid flannels, drinking whiskey shots before and after the rosary?  Because if you watch a lot of
Youtube, that's what it looks like - window dressing for MAGA Catholic men.  It reminds me a bit of how to raise your son so he doesn't turn out gay.  Load him down with masculine interests and activities, especially sports and he'll turn out fine.  

How to fix the Catholic 'man-crisis'.

Like I said - it's an apostolate now.  A business.  A beard, for at least one guy, a priest named Fr. James Cosgrove.  As a young, good-looking, enthusiastic priest, he was in the perfect position to exploit the crisis.  Men are so naïve, so caught up in machismo.  Just like gay men.  Gay men are attracted to what?  The same sex - they like men, real men.  What better scenario than to minister to men, to help them come to terms with their masculine vulnerability, acceptance of their sexual being, to dealing with their inhibitions and fears and of course - sexuality.  Be it same-sex attracted or opposite sex attracted or consecrated to God attracted.

Cosgrove on The Catholic Man Show.

Here's the story on Fr. Jim.

It's similar to how former Cardinal McCarrick operated.  It also could have happened to me, since I used to get similar invites - but didn't go because I knew what they wanted.  

"Three former seminarians say Cleveland diocesan and seminary officials failed to respond appropriately, after Fr. James Cosgrove allegedly pressured them to take naked swims with him at a lake house and other locations, couching the invitations in both spiritual language and excessive alcohol consumption.
One seminarian also said the priest took nude photos and videos of him without consent.

The former seminarians say they were harassed and manipulated in 2019 by Cleveland priest Fr. James Cosgrove. They also allege that after they reported the misconduct and it was investigated, the priest still had access to seminarians, and a key to the seminary.

While the priest resigned from ministry this month, the former seminarians say that seminary and diocesan officials left other seminarians at risk of abuse from the priest, and have not listened seriously to their concerns.

Former Cleveland seminarian Nick Grismer told The Pillar that in June and July 2019, Cosgrove pressured him into skinny-dipping at the seminary’s swimming pool, and at a lake house owned by a diocesan priest. Cosgrove also took nude photographs without his consent, Grismer alleged.

He said the priest exploited their close relationship and his trust, encouraging him to drink heavily, even when he knew that Grismer struggled with alcohol abuse - on one occasion, the seminarian got so drunk with the priest that he says he cannot recall what happened.

Grismer also alleges that the priest abused his religious influence to coerce and manipulate him.

When urging him to skinny-dip, Cosgrove would tell Grismer to “be free before God,” or “be naked before God,” the former seminarian claimed."
- The Pillar

Cosgrove wasn't attached to the seminary, so it isn't a clear case of abuse.  He just visited.  The diocese doesn't think much of it either: "While the Cleveland diocese told The Pillar Thursday that the matter “does not involve any conduct that could be reasonably considered to be coercive [or] harassing,” one former seminarian called that response stunning." Which suggests to me, it's not unusual to have something like that happen - boys will be boys or men, if you will.

Which is what I find to be rather humorous.  Not every abuse is actual abuse - the seducer might be designated a perpetrator, stalking for prey, but in this situation, it just sounds gay.  Cosgrove was manipulative, the guys were manipulated, but still, nothing really happened - I'm not getting any victim vibe here.  They got drunk, they took off their clothes.  Blowing the whistle and making it public - well that took care of it, despite no punitive action from the seminary or the diocese.  Fr. Cosgrove left ministry on his own.  How he got ordained is a good question, but people can hide behind a lot of things.  They can hide behind a pious façade, behind a manly-man façade, a 'just a guy' jock type of façade.  

Jack from Will and Grace wants the ex-gay
group leader to 'hit the showers'
with him.

Call it 'masculine vulnerability'

Men like men.  It's natural.  Men know how to be masculine.  It's normal.  Most men are normal - even those who find other men handsome and easy to get along with and who want to be friends with them.

Homosexuality has scared so many people, they no longer know how to deal with it. Before it became acceptable, it was feared, now that it's all in the open, it's feared even more.  Leaders and spiritual directors of men's groups promote gender/cultural-stereotypes of masculinity to defeat it.  The men  want their beer, their guns and their beards to make sure they can be identified as real men.  The leaders and directors developed a spirituality suited only for men, to make sure they are doing it right.

I can't put my finger on it, but I think it's kind of a cult in the making.  I could be wrong - in the meantime, I'll look for the humor in it.

Oh!  Look at the time - The Great Reset will have to wait.  Don't press that button without me.

"There's something about nakedness in the male psyche — and now I've studied initiation rites — it's universal. The boy always gets naked, as you see in the sweat lodges, too." - Richard Rohr


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Terry there is a lot to unpack on this subject! In my experience many years ago men just like to get naked. Men like skinny dipping especially in their teens. Girls not so much unless the water is bath temp. Nothing gay about it. I actually learned to swim in the 1950’s, age 8 or so, at local public high school without swimsuits. Nothing untoward happened, at least to me or my friends. Recently local social media had a raging debate about this which happened here as well. Was it abusive? My wife insists it was. I have no scares from it. I think it is a gender perspective issue. A priest however is another matter. Pictures? That crosses a line.
    I follow a Blogger/ podcaster called the Catholic Gentlemen for years now. Mostly about being a good husband, father, friend, but often more recently focused on the benefits of male bonding, pipe smoking, beer & whiskey. One recent episode even included a theologian advocating these and justifying them with monks who make alcohol as their claim to fame. Seems like a justification to do what you want & and convince your wife it is somehow holy. I doubt the wives buy it. Manliness is not about any of these things. It is first and foremost about character.

    1. Good to hear from you. I of course swam naked in high school, thought nothing of it - never ever looked at guys in the shower and so on. So I don't see it as a big deal - until the recent past. The priest gave them booze, wanted to sleep with another and so on. He didn't exactly abuse anyone but rather at worst set the guys up and maybe was grooming them? My point is that #1 It sure seems like this is kind of a new normal - since the seminary people weren't that upset about it? And McCarrick operated in the same way... so maybe? #2 I forgot what my 2nd point was. However, the matter was treated so casually, there is reason to believe it's not unusual behavior. The taping and photo taking is the weirdest part - if indeed it was innocent - which I don't believe. Oh! Now I remember #2 - it does suggest to me that gay people in the priesthood has never been unusual, and only now - when everything is labeled (lgbtq+) has it become a scandal. The abuse of minors not withstanding, the 'homosexual inclination' though sinful to act on, is probably rather 'normal' in so far as it is a common temptation for men of a certain temperament. Leading to my conclusion that we don't have to be afraid of it or homosexuals themselves. We need to affirm Catholic teaching, we need to safeguard minors from perverts and so on. This is kind of radical for me to say - but I have seen the double standard in the Church over and over, and instead of living in fear of a homosexual take over - live the Gospel and the faith and trust God. Fear and witch hunts accomplish nothing.

      I'm familiar with Catholic Gentlemen - nothing wrong with it at all. Nothing wrong with men's spirituality. I'm just poking fun at the irony - like make your sons straight by keeping them active in sports - and we see how many gay men are in sports. So the gender stereotypes are no guarantee for manliness, which some Catholic men's presentations sort of parody. It's like gay men promoting Bear and Leather looks. I'm just trying to show how similar both things are.

      You are absolutely correct. Manliness is about character. Catholic manliness is everything about the gifts we received at confirmation.

      The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

      Therefore the man (and woman) need not fear. We don't have to be afraid of homosexual persons or homosexuality. I'm trying to express that without appearing to condone it. I'm not as articulate as I used to be. I hope I make sense.

    2. Makes sense to me.

  3. Yes, you make sense. Thank you for reminding me of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is good to be reminded of them. How lucky we were to receive them sacramentally. I feel Confirmation is often overlooked and the classes today are so very small.

  4. I am a member of the Cleveland Diocese, and I have commented favorably on the quality of the priests who have been ordained from our seminaries for the last several years.

    I cannot tell you how horrified and ashamed I am of my Diocesan leaders at this moment.

    Our Bishop Malesic has only been with us for about a year or so, and I am reluctant to blame him for this mess. Our previous bishop was only with us for two years, before being sent to Philadelphia. Our good Bishop Lennon, who was our bishop before that, led the charge to purify the seminary system and to root out anything that was not strictly in line with Catholic teaching.

    A friend of mine, a Byzantine Catholic teacher from a Franciscan high school and a retired US Army officer, was part of the team which completed the study for Bishop Lennon. Of course, Bishop Lennon was roundly criticized and sometimes hated for these actions and others, but he conscientiously and faithfully served the Church and protected the souls in his care. My own pastor was ordained during his time, and he is the finest, most faithful and joyful priest I know, a blessing indeed to my parish. I tend to think this evil came from the time after Bishop Lennon resigned due to ill health, and died in 2016.

    The pitiful, cold comments from the Diocese sound like those of some bureaucrat high up on the totem pole. As you point out, they echo the appalling comments made by the hierarchy in the wake of the unspeakable McCarrick catastrophe.

    I don't care that these men were all adults. Impurity, sin, and evil are behind this, and innocent, pure young men who wanted to give their lives for the Church were violated by a representative of the Diocese, as Fr. Cosgrove is since he is a Diocesan priest, and this was done on Diocesan property. It is a sin, a scandal, and a painful disgrace to all of us in the Cleveland Diocese.

    I am not a mother, but if one of these seminarians was my son, Fr. Cosgrove would have more to worry about than the police, the bishop, and his immortal soul. I am so angry and heartbroken I cannot see straight.

    Please, please pray for us, dear Terry and all. Susan, TOF

    1. Dear Susan, I'm so sorry for the situation in your diocese, I had no idea. I am also sorry for my facetious take on the situation and commentary. You have certainly brought forward the truth - exposing the wickedness and callousness of what happened, as well as the cold, dismissive attitude from officials. I have no excuse except to say I'm exasperated with all of the scandals, all of the time. The hypocrisy is especially ugly. God bless you. You are in my prayers today.

    2. Dear Susan, I am sorry for your situation and the harm it is causing. Your near neighbor Buffalo NY had a similar situation just a few years back. St. John Vianney Seminary a hundred year old institution, built a brand new campus in a tony suburb, East Aurora, it was their pride & joy. Scandals were reported of students being sexually harassed, inappropriate parties in off campus rectories. A mother wrote a letter as did students. Once the cat was out of the bag the then Bishop, Bishop Malone had to investigate. What he found was so bad he closed it forever. The public reason was financial, but everyone knows it was beyond repair. Vocations lost, damage done. Bishop Malone was forced into retirement. The offending priests investigated, cleared and reassigned since no victim was a minor. I have stopped being shocked and am only glad that public disclosure is exposing men unable to live their vows. The frat boy mentally in men past their teens is incompatible with ordination. I will pray for you, your Diocese and indeed the whole Church that we are sent men worthy and strong enough to withstand this pervasive social permissiveness. Remember always there are many more who serve faithfully.

    3. My Dear Terry and Mr. H - thank you for your very kind and concerned words, which have given me a great deal of comfort. Terry, I never thought you were being facetious, and I am glad you brought this out on your blog. You have no need to apologize whatsoever.

      I thought I was hardened to the horror of the sex abuse scandal, but I guess I am not. I had such faith in our Diocese and our seminary formation, especially after Bishop Lennon worked so hard to rout out the evil. Apparently the devil waited until the poor man died to strike out again at our seminary.

      Another facet that has not been brought out is that the Diocese was in the midst of beginning a much-needed fund drive to modernize and renovate the seminary dormitories and offices. I understand Fr. Cosgrove was involved with the team that is to introduce this fund drive to our people. The seminary facilities are indeed in dire need of an upgrade, and this is a very worthy cause, which I know in my capacity as a parish council member. Fr. Cosgrove's unspeakable behavior will undoubtedly sink or at least badly affect this much-needed project, which will also drive another nail into the coffin of priestly vocations.

      What horrific evil, and what a deadly injury Fr. Cosgrove and Satan have inflicted on my Diocese and the Church.

      Again, I thank you, Terry and Mr. H, for your very kind prayer support and comfort. It is going to be a painful, hard journey for us here in the Cleveland Diocese, and my heart is broken.

    4. "I thought I was hardened to the horror of the sex abuse scandal, but I guess I am not"

      It just never ends does it? I am starting to think it probably will never end until our Lord Jesus returns to restore all things to himself. Until the fire from heaven falls to burn away all that is unclean and perverted.
      The sad part for me (as I type this) is that I am becoming cynical and indifferent to this sex-scandal craze that our beloved Church seems unable to get rid of.
      All the talks, lectures, meetings, condemnations, folks leaving the faith because of these sex scandals and for what? I suppose many just brush it off, leave and never return while those who are damaged and ruined by it feel abandoned and shocked by the lack of integrity and commitment from the powers that be to take this matter head on.
      Perhaps some even scoff at our Holy Father's words "he's not doing enough" or "all he does is shuffle papers and hold meetings while people are still being raped." To be honest, those very thoughts cross my mind and I pray to not take those thoughts to heart.

      It's all too much to bear ... there is too much going on in our country atm - the world for that matter to have to endure another sex scandal priest story.

      I wanna bury my head, close my eyes and turn it all off. I want to hide in the shadow of the Cross or in the quiet of a Church and not step out into the sun to face reality nor to carry my cross in order to go on living.

      Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

  5. You are right, Ms. Yaya. As you say, it just never ends.

    I was beginning to think we had finally turned the corner in the Cleveland Diocese, and we were beginning to heal. We survived the scandals and the worst of COVID. We were beginning to attract more fine men to our seminary, and we in the pews were carrying on, holding on tight to our Faith, and serving in various ministries in aid to the Church.

    Not only have Satan and his henchmen humiliated Catholics and Catholicism, they have destroyed the trust our people have for our priests, and the respect outsiders may have held for us and our beliefs.

    My father's side of the family is Catholic, and my mothers is Baptist and Pentecostal. It has only been - literally - a couple of years since they finally conceded that Catholics are Christian. I can only imagine the comments at this scandal - "They should all be married and this would be avoided," and, "I will never let my children or grandchildren around any of them." What little respect and goodwill we have built with those of other beliefs is destroyed by sinful behavior such as this.

    Satan may be evil, but he isn't stupid. He is attacking us exactly where it hurts most painfully and does the most devastating damage.

    I sympathize with you wanting to shut yourself off from all the horror, Ms. Yaya. But as a Franciscan, I think we might instead quietly go about the mission God has sent us, whatever it may be. And get ourselves to Confession, and attend Mass every day if possible and receive the Eucharist.

    We are under attack. Satan does not want us turning to Jesus for comfort, and he does not want us to continue to serve Jesus. We must serve Him where we are needed, and do what God wants us to do. It would make Satan all too happy to see us disappear.

    God bless and protect us all.

    1. Yes Susan. I have become ever more aware that Satan is very good at his "job." Although the sex scandal is Exhibit A, note how well the current frenzied partisan divisiveness in both secular society and the Church suits his purposes. Once that is in place, it is like shooting fish in the barrel to tempt people with their particular inclinations. He will tempt liberals to try to radically innovate and traditionalists to disobey Magisterial authority in the name of their own "magisterial" assessment of what constitutes the irreformable in the Church. And of course everyone in between. He tempts people where they are at. And right now it is like shooting fish in a barrel(sorry for the repeated metaphor). In these days, at least for me, a new light has been shed on Jesus's warning that the path is narrow - we mustn't stray to the right or the left. It is unnerving. The solution is daily prayer, the bible and receiving the Eucharist. And making time for these things by minimizing time immersed in the media, social or otherwise. So I better log off and pray!!!

    2. I agree, Todd. I would add, at least monthly Confession. And plunging forward with our mission in life, and as worthily as possible, to represent and bring Jesus to society. Peace, brother.

  6. Dear Terry and All - I have come by private information in addition to what I have written. More victims with ruined vocations and broken souls have come forward. And my Diocese seems to be denying any responsibility - civil, moral, or spiritual.

    Please, please, pray hard for these seminarian victims, and for all of us in the Diocese of Cleveland. Remember - without seminarians, there are no priests. With no priests, there is no Eucharist. And with no Eucharist, there is no Church. Satan is attacking *all* of us, and, by extension, Jesus Himself.

    1. I'm sorry this is happening in Cleveland. Ultimately the attack is against Jesus - hatred for the Incarnation, which helps us understand the abortion holocaust and so many other evils, gender theory and sexual fluidity and obscuring the image of God in the soul. Yet to destroy the priesthood and split the faithful is the ultimate attack - to deny access to the means of salvation, the sacraments - esp. the Eucharist and Reconciliation. Contrary to what Chris Jackson claims - it is not the TLM which offers all the means to support the priests and the faithful, it is the Church (in communion with the Pope and Bishops), which provides every remedy to save us and assures us of salvation. It can't be dissected into various rites or practices, claiming one is more efficacious than the other - it is the Body of Christ, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church which is the ark of salvation.

    2. Thank you, Terry. You are very right. To attack the servants of the Church is to attack Jesus, which is exactly what happened in this demonic example. You can see Satan's hand in this - Fr. Cosgrove urging the seminarians to disrobe in order to "be free before God" - using God to encourage sin, no less!

      Satan doesn't waste his time on those who are already his own. This is why dreadful things happen to good people, like these poor young men. They were targeted by Satan, who used this horrid priest to spread his evil influence.

      When the children of God are attacked in any way, it doesn't matter if the authorities give the perpetrators a miss. These evil people will have to answer for their actions before God. If there isn't earthly justice, you can be sure there will be justice with God - and people like Fr. Cosgrove will not be given a miss in the afterlife.


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